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Food Insight Blog

Shedding light on the science behind nutrition and food safety.

By: Gretchen Chriszt   Date: 9/29/10

Last week was the 33rd Annual National Food Policy Conference here in Washington, DC. This year’s theme was “Improving Child Nutrition: New Challenges and Opportunities” which falls right in line with September’s designation as Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. The many panels and keynote speakers addressed nutrition messages, physical activity campaigns, and other programs that are trying to bring an end to childhood obesity through healthy lifestyle changes

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By: Kris Sollid   Date: 9/27/10

Today marks the beginning of the last week of Food Safety Education Month, and as they say, “all good things must come to an end.”  However, should the calendar really be our reference in when we begin and end handling food safely?  In fact, food safety practices should never cease.  Safe food handling is an important part of our daily lives, but sadly, the topic often gets overlooked. 

Fortunately for me, I’m reminded constantly by colleagues here at IFIC that food can’t be nutritious unless it’s safe first.  I’m also reminded frequently these days of the specific nutrition needs during pregnancy as many friends and family have recently entered this joyous stage of life, and I’ve been thrilled to contribute my knowledge of nutrition when needed.  There is perhaps no time in life when special attention to safe and healthful eating is more critical than during pregnancy. 


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By: Mary Rooks and Angela Boadu   Date: 9/23/10

To commemorate National Food Safety Education Month, IFIC and the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) of the USDA joined together to bring USDA food safety mascots, Thermy™ and Bac!® to Farragut Park in Washington, DC on Tuesday, September 21. This year’s theme is “Serve Your Fare with Extra Care” and is targeted towards high-risk populations including pregnant women, older adults, infants and young children, and those with compromised immune systems,.

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By: Mary Rooks and Angela Boadu   Date: 9/22/10

The International Food Information Council Foundation and the US Department of Agriculture held a joint Twitter Chat last week regarding food safety in at-risk populations.

According to the USDA, some people because of age or medical conditions are susceptible to food borne pathogens and may  have more serious consequences.

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By: Kimberly Reed, Executive Director, International Food Information Council Foundation   Date: 9/21/10

The International Food Information Council Foundation’s2010 Food and Health Survey: Consumer Attitudes Toward Food Safety, Nutrition & Health highlights an important fact:  Americans continue to show a lack of understanding of “calories in” and “calories out” (also known as “energy balance”) and their relationship to weight. This is an important finding that everyone who is committed to reducing obesity in our nation should appreciate, from First Lady Michelle Obama and her Let’s Move! initiative, to leaders in our schools across the nation, to local health and nutrition professionals and to average citizens


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By: Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RD   Date: 9/20/10

As a mom, I feel like I always have food on the brain! Whether I’m preparing meals, encouraging my kids to eat their veggies, or grocery shopping for the week, my life revolves around mealtimes. This is a good thing – my thoughts around meal- and snack time mean my family gets the nutrition that they need from infancy to adulthood (yes, your health is important too, Mom and Dad!).

Don’t Forget the Basics
But nutrition is not the only thing on my mind.  There are basic food safety practices that all of us moms and dads should know as we spend time in the kitchen. The basics of food safety – clean, separate, cook, and chill – are some of the most important things that you can do to keep your family food safe. For a quick review of the basics, check out how to be food safe with my pal, Win.

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By: Mary Alice Shreve Date: 9/17/10

Is a free-range chicken… that has been minimally processed, is found in a store specializing in the sale of whole foods, comes from a fair trade, local farming facility with sustainable practices and where the farmers partake in the slow-food movement as well as offer whole grain products that are also all-natural…considered to be organic? 

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By: Eric Mittenthal   Date: 9/15/10

As you may know by now, September is National Food Safety Education Month.  All month we’re highlighting food safety tips, insights on food safety from our registered dietitians and more.  One of the events we’re most excited about is a live Twitter chat with the USDA Food Safety & Inspection Service.  Their experts will join us and answer your questions as we discuss food safety and how to best avoid foodborne illness.

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Childhood Obesity Awareness Month Blog Carnival

This article was written for inclusion in the blog carnival hosted by Littlestomaks to promote awareness of childhood obesity as part of the National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. Please read to the end of this article to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


 By: Elizabeth Rahavi, RD  Date: 9/14/10

In 2001, the Surgeon General issued a call to action to prevent obesity. Since that time, a lot of effort on behalf of policymakers, health professionals, advocacy groups, parents, teachers and others who care for children has gone into creating awareness about the cost of obesity and related illnesses including, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, just to name a few. With the President and First Lady of the United States fully invested in efforts to stem the tide of childhood obesity, has the time now come to change the focus of the conversation?  If we do want to change the tone and tenor of the conversation, then we have to listen to what parents, caregivers, and kids have to say about their weight, diet, and overall health. We need to understand what might motivate them to take control of their health and help them overcome the barriers that can get in their way of achieving an active and healthful lifestyle.

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By: Elizabeth Rahavi, RD   Date: 9/13/10

A few weeks ago, I was out enjoying a nice Sunday dinner with my husband at a new hip restaurant in Bethesda, Maryland. My husband was craving branzino, “European seabass,” and after searching high and low we could not find it. He finally settled on ordering a hamburger. (In case you’re interested I ordered skate.)  After my husband ordered his hamburger, the waitress asked him, “How do you want that cooked.”

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CFI Food System Summit Looks at How to Improve Trust in the U.S. Food Supply

By: Lindsey Loving Date: 9/10/10

Consumers’ interest in where their food comes from has been on the rise in recent years, and along with it, questions about whether we can trust our food and those that regulate it. Despite our food supply being safer than ever before, increased awareness and knowledge, as well as 24/7 access to information, has fed a growing need for answers to questions and concerns about the health and safety of our food supply. The 5th Annual Center for Food Integrity (CFI) Food System Summit in Chicago, IL on October 5 and 6, 2010, will attempt to address this phenomenon, with a theme that is appropriately titled, "Can We Trust Our Food?" The program features top food safety and nutrition experts and other leaders in the field engaging in interactive discussions on issues currently impacting public perceptions of nutrition, food safety, agriculture and food production, with the goal of identifying ways to build consumer trust and confidence in our food supply. 

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By: Christa Drew   Date: 9/8/10 

When kids return to school it’s often the biggest one-time expense of the year for families and certainly a cause of stress. The daily cost of nutritious breakfast, lunch and snacks, all essential to the healthy growth and development of kids, plus the need for medical physicals, clothing, school supplies and more, can be a considerable financial burden for low- and middle- income households across America.

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By: Kerry Robinson, RD   Date: 9/7/10

As you may know, September is National Food Safety Education Month, and this year’s theme focuses on protecting those that are at a higher risk for foodborne illness, including young children, pregnant women, those with weakened immune systems and older adults.  As a dietitian who previously worked with older adults, I experienced first-hand the importance of safe food handling from the kitchen to the dining room table.


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By: Mary Alice Shreve    Date: 9/3/10

It was fun, Summer. Welcome back, Fall! Cue new school years, changing leaves, shorter days, and, the great American pastime, football!

Perhaps one of the main attractions of football season- beyond the game itself- is the food. From lavish celebrations held by a big-screen TV to Vienna sausages on a mini-grill, “tailgate parties” reign. With all the hoopla, it’s easy to get off your game, so to speak, with your normal eating routine. Whether you wake up early to stake out your tailgating spot or plan to enjoy the game from the comfort of your couch, these tips will make for an enjoyable, healthful feast…win or lose.

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By: Tony Flood   Date: 9/2/10

Within the past two weeks, we have been the recipients of bad news regarding food safety.  We have witnessed two food recalls; one affecting over 32 million cartons of eggs contaminated with Salmonella and as of last week, sickened over 1,400 consumers.  The latest recall of approximately8,500 pounds of ground beef contaminated with E. coli O26 will likely have you asking the question – what should I do to keep safe?

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 By: Tony Flood   Date: 9/1/10

Today, September 1 marks the beginning of National Food Safety Education Month; a time to observe, remember and especially to incorporate safe food handling into our daily routines.  This year’s theme focuses on protecting those that are at a higher risk of foodborne illness – young children, pregnant women, those with weakened immune systems and of course, older adults like my mother who is a lively 84 years old.  Today’s blog post is dedicated to her and all older adults

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By: Tony Flood   Date: 8/30/10

Due to the mounting questions, concerns and misinformation that are rampant on the internet today regarding the current Salmonella outbreak and subsequent egg recall, I thought it wise to provide a few facts to help you put the risk in perspective; 
information to help you make an informed decision about the food you plan to eat at your next breakfast or brunch this weekend.

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By: Andy Benson   Date: 8/27/10

Picture this: 1700 of the world’s top food scientists all in Africa, all of them beating out a rhythm on African Drums.  That’s what happened this week in South Africa and the drums served an important purpose.

Globally, we’re faced with a tremendous challenge to provide the right food, in the right way, and at the right place and time to feed the world’s seven billion people. Those 7 billion people all approach food a little differently: European gourmets seek the best in haute cuisine while harried executives and homemakers want quick and convenient food, and for 2 billion people in lesser developed countries there’s a desperate need for access to enough food to keep them from starvation.

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By: Tony Flood   Date: 8/25/10

This week marks the 200th anniversary of the can.  I’m certain many of us take the aluminum can for granted but if it weren’t for the revolutionary idea of Englishman Peter Durand we wouldn’t be able to enjoy favorites such as chicken soup on a rainy day or cold beer after a long day’s work.  In fact, we would probably still be using glass jars instead of today’s aluminum can technology. 

Nicholas Appert the “father of canning” received 12,000 FR from the French government for preserving food in glass jars by sterilization in 1809.  It was later that Durand improved on Appert’s idea and introduced the first tin – plated can in the U.S. in 1818 and in 1957 aluminum was introduced in metal can manufacturing.  Since 1957, aluminum cans continue to provide great benefits to us especially in regards to environmental impact.

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By: Kerry Robinson, RD   Date: 8/24/10

Are you a health professional who wants to know what consumers think about the use of technology in food production? Or what their views are on hot topics such as sustainability?  What about understanding their concerns and gaps in information when it comes to food technology, and how to bridge those gaps through effective communications?

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